You can’t have depression – You teach yoga!

Yesterday I visited the local GP to fulfill a promise that I made to a lovely lady on the end of a Lifeline phone call.A� I made the promise that I would connect with a new doctor (mine has moved away) and let them know that I was struggling once again with my symptoms of depression.

This new doctor demonstrated to me everything that is wrong with the western approach to diagnosing depression.A� It was insulting enough to not be asked to explain my history, have I been on medication before, what’s worked, what doesn’t, what triggers it etc etc.A� But what he said next left me gobsmacked.

“You can’t be depressed – you teach yoga!”

My boyfriend had the perfect comeback “Do you ever get sick? Well you shouldn’t – you’re a doctor!”A� If only he had been in the room with me!

As I was driving home with little more than a verbal pat on the shoulder and a “if things don’t get better, come back”, I recalled a saying… “those that can’t, teach”.A� I wonder how true this is.

I am told by appreciative students that my explanations and cues for achieving a downward dog are great.A� Yet the pose continues to allude me after years of practice.A� During my teacher training I led a guided meditation which received glowing feedback.A� Yet I struggle to sit still for 5 minutes.A� Savasana (the corpse pose) is a calming, restorative pose yet you can find me gently snoring at the end of the class.

How many other teachers are out there that struggle with the fundamentals of yoga?A� Am I the only one?A� I teach because I know how good I feel after I give or receive a class.A� I teach knowing that most poses will never feel comfortable in this lifetime (I pray for the next!).A� I teach because for the 60 minutes of physical focus my little black dog retreats to his kennel.A� I teach in the hope that one day I will practice what I preach 100% (and not the 10%, 25% or 50%).

But above all else I teach because I love the way yoga affects everybody differently.A� Whether you’re a Lululemon junkie or a Bikram groupie, a 50 year old desk-bound accountant or an anxiety-ridden, overachieving manic depressive like me.A� We all experience yoga personally.A� Some go for the endorphin buzz or the feeling of being put through the spin cycle of a washing machine.A� Others find a moment of peace in an otherwise crowded and noisy world.

To be told that I can’t suffer from depression because I teach yoga is belittling.A� And so I continue my journey into the world of yoga with my black dog as my companion.A� And let me tell you something.A� On a black dog day – we’ve got downward dog nailed!

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Manly to Shelley Beach Swim (M2SBS) – Swimming with Dolphins

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The Manly to Shelley Beach Swim is about 1 kilometre in distance.A� Not actually that far when measured in lengths of a swimming pool.A� 20 lengths in a 50m pool, which I have done a few times (many years ago).

But we’re talking about swimming in the sea…. the ocean.A� Whilst waves and rips get me nervous, it’s actually the unseen world below which really brings on the anxiety.

So yesterday I bit the bullet and began my training for the Manly to Shelly Beach Swim (M2SBS).A� Shelley Beach is a sheltered cove which people tell me is a gorgeous place to snorkle because there’s loads to see.A� Great.A� It’s also a known shark nursery. Super.

So my reason for starting at Shelley Beach?A� It’s calm and flat 9 times out of 10.A� I am extremely proud to say that I managed to swim round to the first flight of steps that lead out of the rock (near the Mambo Coffee Shop) which means that I have completed about a third of the swim.A� What’s more I had enough energy to swim back!

Perhaps this goal is achievable after all!

That afternoon I heard a rumour saying that a dolphin was swimming in the waters at Shelley Beach.A� Having just completed part of the M2SBS I was mighty glad that I didn’t come head to head with a large, grey 8 foot creature swimming in the water near-by!

So the boyfriend with a “kick the bucket list” dragged me down to Shelley Beach to face my fears.A� Yes, 8 foot grey sea monsters are a fear of mine although the ones I’m scared of tend to have more teeth.

Armed with a mask and snorkel, I bravely swam out (actually I was dragged out by the boyfriend – literally!) and got to swim with a wild dolphin.A� The experience was nerve wracking, awe inspiring and just plain a-m-a-z-i-n-g!!A� The dolphin passed just 6 feet below me and circled around the the other swimmers that had also swam out to be there.

Seeing her (yes apparently it’s a female) breach the surface in that characteristic dolphin arching glide took my breath away.A� I was swimming just a couple of metres away from one of the most graceful creatures on this planet.

How do I feel now I’m back on dry land?A� Truly Blessed.


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